News source: Debate on advertising’s role in obesity, health and wellness

Paul Kurnit, clinical professor of marketing at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York, has forceful views and diverse experience in the youth marketplace.

October 30, 2007

Contact Bill Caldwell, Office of Public Information, Pace University, 212-346-1597, wcaldwell@pace.edu

NEWS SOURCE

Topic: Debate on advertising’s role in obesity, health and wellness

Debates are raging about the role of advertising in obesity, age appropriate messaging and over commercialization of youth.

For example, Senators Sam Brownback and Tom Harkin, along with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and FCC Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Deborah Taylor Tate, announced the formation of a Task Force on Media and Childhood Obesity to examine the impact of media and advertising on children’s health. According to an article on Broadcasting & Cable online, 9/19/2007, the report from the task force has been “apparently held up by the inability to get children’s activist groups to sign off on it.” http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6479807.html?rssid=193

Paul Kurnit, clinical professor of marketing at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York, has forceful views and diverse experience in the youth marketplace. As a senior executive in the advertising business as President of Griffin Bacal, a DDB agency, he helped build the Hasbro toy and entertainment business and supervised TV programs like Transformers, GI Joe and My Little Pony. In addition to teaching at Pace, he operates his own marketing and consulting businesses, Kurnit Communications and KidShop. He also has worked extensively on “pro-social” initiatives to help young people including youth volunteerism for America’s Promise, founded by Colin Powell, The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation’s programs for students with learning difficulties. He serves on the Creative Review Committee of The Advertising Council, the board of directors of the Advertising Educational Foundation and the advisory board of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit.

Professor Kurnit’s views on the role of advertising in obesity:

“Many who criticize advertising to kids misplace blame and oversimplify complex societal issues requiring much more comprehensive solutions to foster youth health and well-being. There has been no link demonstrated between advertising and obesity. Advertising plays a positive role in socializing kids. And, advertising is an important engine for quality entertainment and communication that nurture and nourish kids.”

Contrary to what anti-marketing groups maintain, “I haven’t seen any conclusive data that show kids are damaged by advertising. We live in a commercial world. The issue is to make advertising as responsive and responsible as possible rather than to turn our back on the commercial world we live in. The big opportunity is to harness the power of advertising to encourage positive social movements that will support a future of healthier kids and families.”

Phone: (914) 737-0300; email: pkurnit@pace.edu .